Iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons, monuments, and sacred or holy images. Iconoclasts are the image-breakers and iconophiles are the image lovers. Our book states, the beginning of the medieval era in Byzantine began when the Arabs conquered Byzantium’s eastern provinces and Persia. With the lost of almost two-thirds of Byzantium’s empire, wealth, and material resources, Emperor Leo the third, believed that God punished the Christian Roman Empire for its worship of graven images. Much of Christian iconoclasm stems from the Ten Commandments, which forbids the making and worshipping of graven images; “anything that is heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”.
Islamic iconoclasm toward other religions in recent years has affected several cities and countries. In Bamiyan province, Afghanistan, the Taliban destroyed frescoes and monumental statues of Buddha. In 2001, the Islamist Taliban government believed that UNESCO and foreign NGO’s were putting resources into renovating these statues, while much more important problems were affecting Afghanistan. Although intact for over 1,500 years, the Islamist Taliban government declared the statues idol (graven) image worshiping, and destroyed the statues with dynamite and tank missiles. By March 2001, the last and largest of the Buddha statues were destroyed after a month of firing.